Bock receives international acclaim on guardianship front

As problems with guardianship of seniors citizens and incapacitated adults  make headlines, Palm Beach County’s Clerk & Comptroller Sharon R. Bock has been held out as an innovator in combating fraud in the arena.

Now Bock has gone international.

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Sharon R. Bock, Clerk & Comptroller for Palm Beach County, will receive an award in Germany for innovation in combating guardianship fraud.

The 4th World Congress on Adult Guardianship in Berlin, Germany to be held this weekend will recognize Bock for her Guardianship Fraud Program & Hotline.

“The three-day conference provides guardianship advocates from countries around the world a rare opportunity to share problems and solutions,” Bock’s office said in a news release.

“Organizers of this bi-annual, worldwide symposium encourage international exchange on the ideas, concepts and practices of the protection of vulnerable adults.”

Bock said the exploitation of our most vulnerable citizens is not only an issue in the United States.

“I have made it my mission to team up with leaders on a national and international level to strengthen guardianship laws,” she said.

Bock’s Division of Inspector General has audited and investigated more than 900 guardianship cases since the inception of the hotline in 2009, leading to the identification of more than $5.1 million in unsubstantiated disbursements, missing assets and fraud.

For more information about the Clerk’s Guardianship Fraud Program & Hotline, visit www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/fraud or call 561-355-FRAUD (561-355-3728).

 

Indicted Delray Beach doctor is focus of $4.8M whistleblower lawsuit

A newly unsealed whistleblower lawsuit alleges insurance giant Humana knew that a Delray Beach doctor for seven years bilked the government through fraudulent Medicare billing for $4.8 million, according to a report this week by the Center for Public Integrity that was published by NPR.

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A billing practice called a “risk score” is what a Delray Beach doctor used to perpetrate fraud, according to a whistleblower lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that Humana  – which operates some of the nation’s largest private Medicare health plans –  did little to curb the practice even though it could harm patients.

The Center for Public Integrity is a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.

The whistleblower suit was filed by South Florida physician Mario M. Baez and accuses Humana and his former business partner, Dr. Isaac K. Thompson, of Delray Beach, in engaging in a lucrative billing fraud scheme that lasted for years.

In Thompson’s case, Humana paid 80 percent of the money it received to the doctor and retained the rest. Prosecutors charged that fraudulent diagnoses submitted by Thompson between January 2006 and June 2013 generated overpayments of $4.8 million.

Thompson was indicted early last year on health care fraud charges and has indicated he would plead guilty.

The whistleblower suit was filed in October 2012 but remained under a federal court seal until Feb. 26.

Humana, which had no comment, is based out of  Louisville and covers more than 3 million elderly patients in its Medicare Advantage plans nationwide. At question in the whistleblower suit is a billing formula called a risk score that pays higher rates for sicker patients.

To read the whole story by the Center for Public Integrity click here.